Kosovo to compete in Olympics at Rio 2016 after IOC recognition

The National Olympic Committee of Kosovo has become a full-fledged member of the International Olympic Committee (IOC) Tuesday.

The committee, which gathered for its 127th session in Monaco, unanimously voted in favor of the decision.

Kosovo declared independence from Serbia in 2008, although Serbia does not recognise Kosovo as a state.

The Serbian Olympic committee protested  when Kosovo was granted provisional IOC recognition in October.

Kosovo was confirmed as the 205th national Olympic committee at the IOC session in Monte Carlo on Tuesday.

It is recognised as a country by 108 of the 193 United Nations member states and is a full member of six Olympic sports federations: table tennis, archery, judo, sailing, weightlifting and modern pentathlon.

The IOC began reviewing the Kosovo case five years ago but the request to field a team at London 2012 was rejected, the BBC reports.

Majlinda Kelmendi was the only athlete from Kosovo to compete in London, where she represented Albania in judo.

“Congratulations Kosovo and all athletes,” said Prime Minister Hashim Thaci. “Our flag will wave at the Olympic Games in Rio and will be held by Majlinda.”

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